UK Company Fined $1.2 Million After Worker Fell from Ladder

A window installer working for Safestyle UK was attempting to install a first-floor rear bedroom window when the ladder he was on slipped. The ladder was not footed or tied and the worker fell from a height of more than 3 meters. The employee sustained a broken kneecap that required surgery.

Safestyle UK was sentenced April 10 following an investigation by Britain's Health and Safety Executive after a worker fell from a ladder and sustained a leg fracture. A window installer working for Safestyle UK, he was attempting to install a first-floor rear bedroom window when the ladder he was on slipped. The ladder was not footed or tied, and the worker fell from a height of more than 3 meters. The employee sustained a broken kneecap that required surgery.

HSE's investigation found the company's system for planning work at height was inadequate. The company failed to ensure that work was performed safely; windows were not routinely installed from the inside; and ladders were used in a manner that involved serious risk. In addition, there was no monitoring or supervision of workers.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £850,000 (about $1,205,674 in U.S. dollars) and ordered to pay £1,083 in costs.

"This incident could easily have been prevented had the company implemented reasonably practicable precautions," HSE inspector Stuart Whitesmith said. "Such precautions include having effective and enforced safe systems of work, whereby windows are installed internally where possible, or by using suitable access solutions which provide edge protection, and having a formal system in place to ensure works are appropriately supervised."

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